The Brooklyn Nets trade this offseason for Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce was one of the biggest blockbusters in the franchise’s history. It was so big that we’ve nearly heard from every single player and front office executive from both sides to get their take on it and dissected it from every angle.
Every player except one — Gerald Wallace.
Wallace didn’t speak with the New York media following the deal and wasn’t at the Celtics press conference to announce it either. With the Celtics in town on Tuesday, we finally got to hear his side of the story.
“I was shocked and surprised [about the trade],” Wallace told Tim Bontemps of the NY Post. “I didn’t see it coming. I didn’t know nothing about it.
“I think [it was tough to accept], especially coming to a situation like this with a young team. They’re in the rebuilding process, so it was kind of tough to get into, but I’m here now, the season has started, I’m excited to play with the guys and our main thing is to just try to get better every night.”
The reason for the deal, Wallace suspects, is because the Nets were scapegoating him after their disappointing playoff loss to the Chicago Bulls in the first round last season.
“(The Nets) have to point the finger at somebody like I was the guy to take the blame,” Wallace told Stefan Bondy of the NY Daily News. “And that was the reason I was traded.”
Maybe Wallace was scapegoated a little bit, but honestly all you have to do is look at his results to see why he was traded, then there is his contract to consider and the fact that they got Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett back for him. In other words, there are lots of reasons he was traded. This idea that he might have been unfairly scapegoated is a little bit much.
Just look at the numbers. Wallace averaged just 9.2 points and 5.5 rebounds with an effective field goal percentage of 44.8 — all numbers below his career averages. The reason for the drop off likely has to do with various injuries he dealt with last season, but at 31-years-old and with $30 million owed to him over the next three seasons that’s an absolutely bad contract.
If Wallace was being truthful to himself, he would have realized that Nets general manager Billy King was lucky to trade him as his combination of age, injuries, statistics, and salary meant that he was a disaster of a contract.